Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clear sailing

I don't have time to write much, but I talked with the drs. office this afternoon and the radiation scan I had done on Friday was clear! Yea God! Thanks for all of your prayers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why is waiting so hard?

If patience is a virtue, I'm not very virtuous. I was hoping to hear the results of my scan today but no call yet. They told me on Friday it could be 1 - 3 working days, but darn it, don't they know I'm waiting?!?

On a different note, Dan had a nodule removed off the side of his face last week and it came back benign. Yea God! He went today to get the stitches taken out. Doctor called it a "cutaneous lymphoid hyperplasia". Huh??? Can any of you define that in common terms for me? Doc called it kind of rare. Everything I look up is so full of medical jargon, I give up trying to read it. Come on, you nurse friends and relatives, fill me in?

They sent it on to Madison though as Doc said sometimes these are caused by an insect bite and they need to know if that's what it is. I don't know what they'll do about it if they find out it was, but there must be some reason they need to know.
This is exactly why you should never, ever send your husband to the doctor alone. They don't ASK questions! Now me, I go in with a notebook. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One of my Favorite Things

Cindy at My Romantic Home is hosting a "favorite things" post. She asks that you post a picture of your favorite things.

One of the first things that sprang to mind for me is this old quilt.
When I was 11 my Grandmother passed away. I used to go with my Dad as he and his brother and sisters were cleaning & preparing her home for auction. There was a huge stack of quilts and Aunt Wava said I could pick one. I just loved this blue and white quilt.

I never used it much until Dan & I got married and we used it on our bed. It looked so new, I never thought about how old it might be. I was washing and drying it regularly without a second thought.
Then one day as I was making the bed I saw stitching (white stitching on the white border) in the corner of the quilt that I had never noticed before. It was a date! Feb 8, 1890!

Since then the quilt has graduated to a place of honor on the quilt rack so as to not wear it anymore than I already had. If my Grandmother made this quilt she would have been 9 or 10, so we are guessing it may have even been her mother who stitched it.

A friend asked me one day, if we were to ever have a fire (God forbid) what would I try and save(other than people). Outside of family pictures, I would definitely grab this quilt down from the rack and take it with me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The "tail' of Fuzzybutt

Long ago (ok, not so long ago - 7 years or so) in a land far far away (well, not so far away either, only about 15 miles), an adorable fluffy yellow kitten was born. So adorable that when we were visiting the farm where he was born, we ended up bringing him home. The owners were going on vacation and were worried about some other animal or tomcat getting him while they were away. And of course, we're suckers and fell for it. He was pretty darn cute and our son, Joe always wanted a long haired yellow cat. Joe said he would take him with him when he moved out so what is the longest we would have him, maybe a year? (Note- Fuzzy has never went to live with Joe. Joe has lived on his own for five years and now has a different cat -- hmmm)

Fuzzy joined another kitten named Race Cat. They were the best of buddies. They played alot and were constantly curled up together.

Perfect right? Not so much.
As Fuzzy grew so did his hair and he constantly groomed himself. You know a cat's got to look their best. You never know who might stop by to see you. The grooming wasn't a problem in itself. I mean, who doesn't want a clean cat, right? But he puked hairballs every day. No matter how much anti-hairball medicine we gave him, he still puked up hairballs constantly!
Add that to the fact that as Fuzzy walked through the house, it was like watching PigPen from the Peanuts, the hair just flew off him kind of like PigPens dust cloud. Well, it wasn't long and poor Fuzzy was delegated to the garage.

Then one day Barb came to the house, saw Fuzzy and wanted to take him home. She had lots of cats and thought Fuzzy would fit right in. Well, Fuzzy had other ideas.
To start with, he's not real fond of car rides, so he yowled this awful pitiful yowl all the way to Barb's house.
By now, the guilt is setting in for me that I'm giving poor lovable Fuzzy away. We sat on Barb's front porch for a few minutes with Fuzzy in the cage hissing at her other cats. Time for me to leave came and as I'm driving out, there stood Fuzzy on his back legs with his front feet on the cage bars, watching me drive away with the saddest expression I have seen on a cat. Can cat's have an expression? A really sorrowful one! I felt terrible. It felt like leaving one of my kids.

After I left(with Fuzzy still in the cage), Barb went in the house to get him some water. When she came out, the cage door was open and Fuzzy was gone! Fuzzy must have been Houdini's cat in his previous life!
Barb told us what happened at church that night. So, after church, off we went to Barb's house to wander around in the dark trying to find FuzzyButt. No luck.
For the next month, we would occasionally drive out by her house in hopes of seeing him somewhere. Still no signs of Fuzzy. We were giving up hope. How could he possibly defend himself(he was declawed)in the wilds of the Northern Illinois farm country? How could he ward off any predators? The guilt had overtaken us for giving him away. We were sure he was laying dead somewhere, killed by coyotes or hit on the road. One night, about 6 weeks later, we received a very excited call from Barb that she thought she found "our boy."
We jumped in the truck and found him at Barb's neighbor's horse farm living in the lap of luxury. When we saw him, he was being fed from their kitchen counter! (Side note - cats on the counter, a personal pet peeve of mine)
They weren't exactly looking to keep him and we sure couldn't bear to take him back to Barb's again, so home with us he came.

He seemed awfully happy to be home. He went directly to the food dish! We tried the indoor thing but it was "hair and puke" all over again.
So back to the garage Fuzzy went. He's been a garage cat ever since and likes it. I know this because he told me so the other day. Really, he did, uh huh.
He follows Dan around as he works outside. He protect the perimeter from neighboring tomcats. He chases butterflies and bugs. But the best part of all(NOT) is he brings us gifts and lays them on the doormat almost everyday. Nothing says "welcome" quite like a dead bird or gopher, don't you agree? His offerings are quite amazing. Remember, Fuzzy is declawed! We think he "Fuzzy hugs" them to death.
Most of time though, he just lays around and obeys this sign. Oh, to have a cat's life...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lookin out my back door - Summer edition

This spring I showed you what it looked like out my back door, so I thought it would be fun to do a summer version.

A view across the field at the farm I grew up on.

Now that's some tall corn for as late of a start as it got with the wet spring we had. I'm 6 foot tall and I would guess my reach to be about 7-1/2 feet. It's taller than I can reach. Anymore, the old saying of "knee high by the fourth of July" doesn't hold true. The corn around here is usually much taller by then.

See the yellow cat by my feet. That's Fuzzybutt. He's such a sweetie. He used to be an indoor cat until the hair he spread about got the best of me. He's much happier outside anyway. One of these days, I'll post Fuzzybutt's story. He's a pretty darn resilient kitty!

I just love orange "ditch lilies." Something about them screams summertime to me!

The flower bed to the NW corner of our house. In this flower bed is pink spirea, barberry bushes and lots of lilies.

Isn't this a pretty color? It's actually more burgundy in person than in the picture. I'm never sure how well these will come back. This particular flower bed gets the brunt of the winter winds. It usually takes to July until it really starts to look decent.

Ok, so this isn't really looking out my back door. These are on my front porch. They were looking pretty sick when we got back from New Orleans but then it dawned on me that I hadn't fertilized anything yet. Out came the Miracle Gro and wallah, a couple of weeks later -- beautiful red geraniums.

On another note...the radioactive scan went well today. It's pretty simple, lay on a table, don't move for 45 minutes (zzz-nap time), the machine goes over my body and I'm done. I always try and read the technicians expressions but this guy was a hard read today so I really don't know anything. I saw the scan results up on his screen, but of course, don't know what I am looking at. I'll be glad to get the all clear though. I should have the results by middle of next week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is it possible to feel incredibly blessed yet discouraged at the same time???

As I sat in the chemo unit of the Cancer Center this morning waiting for a thyrogen shot so I can have another scan the end of the week, I was feeling both blessed and discouraged.

First let me say I am so thankful there are caring clinics such as the Ferguson Cancer Center in Freeport, but I don't belong there, right?
Every time I walk in the center which thankfully isn't often, it always feels surreal to me. I'm too healthy to be there, darn it!
For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in November 2006.
The Dr. says if a person has to have cancer, this is the cancer to have. It's very treatable and virtually curable.

This week is the third scan week I've been through since the inital surgery. This scan (hopefully my last) should be just a follow-up to make sure nothing new has shown up in the last year.
The scan week consists of
Monday - thyrogen shot (so I don't have to stop taking my thyroid supplement and revert back into thyroid hell)
Tuesday - a second thyrogen shot
Wednesday - radioactive iodine capsule (which they bring to me in a lead case wearing lead aprons none the less - a tad daunting - am I'm supposed to swallow that?!?)
Friday - Scan

It's a painless procedure other than the fact that I have to stay away from my grandbabies for a few days after the capsule. That's the worst part so I went and got my baby fix tonight.

The blessings and discouragements ...

There are places available such as the Ferguson Cancer Center - Blessing
I am in this center as a patient - Discouragement

The cancer I have is a "good" kind - Huge blessing
That my body is even capable of growing this stuff - Discouragement

My treatment was pretty quick and painless - Blessing
To see other patients coming in for chemotherapy, knowing each other as well as the nurses on a first name basis - Discouragement/Blessing

My blessings far outweigh any discouragements and I thank God for that every day.

But still, this week is a very weird place for me to be.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be sure to sign up for Old Red Barn Company's wuilt giveaway before July 22!

Win a quilt at www.oldredbarnco.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How deep are your roots?

During our motorcycle ride this morning, we passed a hill with one large tree standing on top of it. I almost asked Dan to stop so I could jump off, dig my camera out and take a picture, but didn't and now wish I would have.

I got to thinking about that tree on the hill. More than likely at one time there were other trees on the hill alongside this one, but for some reason or another they are now gone. Maybe they blew over, were struck by lightning or just plain rotted away.
What made this one tree stand as all of it's counterparts crumbled?
Could it be it's roots are deeper?
Could be on a firmer foundation?
Why is it some people handle a crisis better than others?
Do they have a firmer foundation?

I compared this to my walk with Jesus. I would like to think that I have that firm of a foundation and my roots always run deep to Him, but admittedly some days that isn't so.
When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year and half ago, I feel I accepted and handled it pretty well knowing God was in control.
However, when things happen with or to my family, I don't always handle those events as well. It's tough to let God control that part of my life. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma, a "fixer". I should be able to fix whatever is wrong, right? We all know that just isn't possible.

Last night at church, we read

Psalm 121:5
"The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade."

When I heard this verse last night, I pictured in my mind a big tree on a hill. The tree was the Lord. I was sitting under that tree covered and protected by the shade of the Lord. And today I saw just such a tree.

My prayer is that my roots continue to grow with and dig deeper to my Lord and that I will rely totally on Him for the shade and strength He so willingly provides.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cardboard testimonies


Easily sidetracked

Somedays I can be so easily sidetracked.

My mission this afternoon was to get the bathroom floor mopped and do bookwork(not my favorite job).

Before I got to it, I walked out on the front porch.

To heck with my mission for the afternoon...

I decided today was the day to finish the cushions and pillows for the porch chairs. It's looked shabby and unwelcoming all summer.
Do you ever hit that wall where you can't stand to look at something anymore? or have to do something creative (instead of what you should be doing)? That's where I landed this afternoon.
So, a couple of hours later, the porch looks a whole lot brighter and much more welcoming.

Oh, by the way, the living room is rearranged too. Not that it has even a remote connection to the porch, but I was tired of looking at it as well!

Now, I'm starting the bookwork. Really I am! Oh, wait, I need to mop the bathroom first!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Before and After

We had a wicked storm front come through tonight that had the most incredible cloud formations. We were fortunate that we only received rains from it and not the high winds and hail as they did only 20 miles east of us. I just had to share these pictures of the clouds.

BEFORE - As the storm marches towards us

it closes in..
(note the cool mailbox Joe painted for us - however, please don't note the weeds)

it sure looks like we are going to get pounded as it gets darker...

and darker..

and even darker yet...

AFTER - alot of rain, wild lightning, a little bit of wind, oh did I mention alot of rain and wild lightning???

a double rainbow

Giving way to a stunning sunset! Settings like this make me wonder how people can doubt the existence of our creator. I see God's handiwork all over a scene such as this.

The after pictures are a bit dark. Someday I will learn what setting to use on my camera so twilight pictures turn out better, but wanted to share them anyway.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lesson One

Check out my sweet new ride!

Lesson one was this afternoon.

So far dear husband hasn't lost patience with me. I didn't get out of second gear or leave the yard but hey, at least I'm upright and moving!
I'm having a little trouble kick starting the bike then starting out without killing the motor but I'm getting there.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Planning for for vacation

Joe & Kristin were out today for a motorcycle ride. What started out as a morning ride ended up with us getting home at 4:30 this afternoon. I should say that we didn't leave here until 11 though. We spent the morning putting puzzle pieces together and deciding how best to load two rather large cruiser bikes into our new toy hauler trailer for this years vacation. With the exception of moving a wheel chock they fit with room to spare! Whew!
After all that was done, we headed west to the river and had lunch at Poopy's in Savanna. Odd name you say? For sure, but they have some of the best burgers around, in spite of the fact that most items on the menu reference a form of bodily function. It sure makes for interesting reading as you wait for your food. After lunch we rode up through JoDaviess county and stopped at a local winery that sits up on top of a hill with this fantastic view.

In June, I posted a picture of the landscape I see on my way to work. Here is a what the lay of the land looks like an hour NW of here. So, see we do have some good sized hills up here just not directly where we live.

During the course of today we finally decided to take this year's bike trip Labor Day week but not sure exactly where we're going other than East. We like to leave a lot of wiggle room in our itinterary. :) Talking about another bike trip made me want to come home and look at our photos from last year's trip to East Tennessee. Here are a few of my favorites.

Dad & son solving all the world's problems

The lake at Indian Boundary campground off the Cherohala Skyway

An overlook on the Dragons Tale (US Hwy 129)

Sunset on the Cherohala Skyway - I love the way you can see the layers of mountains in the Smokies.

Son, Dad and Mom at a Cherohala overlook on the way back to camp for the night

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

What a wonderful weekend we are having here in Northwest Illinois! 70's & 80's, low humidity and plenty of sunshine! I've been off work since yesterday so have a 4 day weekend! I am so excited. I guess I shouldn't be since I was just off of work for a week and half in New Orleans, but I have so many odds and ends to catch up on. Nothing makes me happier than tying up loose ends.

I don't know what kind of weather we had while we were down south but the weeds took over all of the flower beds and fire pit area. Yesterday, I fought that battle, with granddaughter Ava's help. She didn't quite understand what we were doing. She kept scooping up bark with my hand trowel and throwing it in the bucket, but she was "helping". If I wasn't on my kneeling pad, she would get this really concerned look on her face and say "No, Gamma, No" and try and shove the pad under my knees. How cute is that? She loved her time outside and I so enjoyed my Ava time. I can't wait until Owen gets old enough to join in the fun.

I finally found a recipe for Chow Chow. I have been looking for one since we last visited our Tennessee friends, and had it for the first time. It's not something we have in Illinois. At least, I've never seen it anywhere.
Yesterday I made my first batch. For those of you fellow northerners, it's kind of a cabbage relish. If any of you folks from the south have a better/different recipe and would be willing to share it, I would love to have it.

Southern CHOW CHOW

Combine 2 quarts shredded cabbage (one medium head), 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion and 1 cup finely shopped green and red peppers. Sprinkle 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt over top. Let set in refrigerator for 4 - 6 hours. Drain well.

Combine the following and simmer for 10 minutes using a pan large enough to the put the vegetables in later.
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Add vegetables to vinegar mixture and simmer another 10 minutes.
Pack immediately into heated pint canning jars, leaving 1/8 inch head space. Seal with hot canning lids and tighten canning rings down. Turn upside down so that all the heat is on the seals on a towel on the counter top until cool. I got 3 pints out of this.

I couldn't believe the jars sealed using this method, but all 3 did. This is such a nice change for relish. We had it on pork in Tennessee and it was great! I can't wait to try it out.

Tonight we are headed to a cookout, tomorrow morning a motorcycle ride with Joe & Kristin, a bonfire tomorrow night and hopefully more riding after church on Sunday. It's been so long since we've had a total weekend of nice weather, we ARE going to take advantage of it.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Iowa floods 2008

A friend at work forwarded this video of the Iowa floods to me. It's set to the song "Evangeline" which was written about New Orleans. Who would have ever thought that Iowa and Louisiana would have this commonality.